NW200: Dan Kneen shrugs off rivalry between Tyco BMW team-mates Seeley and Dunlop

Dan Kneen impressed on the Tyco BMW machines at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017.
Dan Kneen impressed on the Tyco BMW machines at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017.

Dan Kneen has avoided being drawn into a debate about the rivalry between his Tyco BMW team-mates Alastair Seeley and Michael Dunlop ahead of this month’s Vauxhall International North West 200.

Manx rider Kneen signed for the Northern Ireland team this season after impressing at the Ulster Grand Prix last August, when he filled in for the injured Ian Hutchinson at Dundrod.

Manx rider Dan Kneen will compete at this weekend's Tandragee 100 on the Superstock-spec Tyco BMW.

Manx rider Dan Kneen will compete at this weekend's Tandragee 100 on the Superstock-spec Tyco BMW.

Hutchinson has since signed for the Honda Racing team, while in March 15-time Isle of Man TT winner Dunlop was confirmed to be riding the Tyco BMW Superbike at the international road races.

Seeley will renew his ties with Philip and Hector Neill’s team solely for the North West 200, pitting the Carrick rider and Dunlop against each other on the same S1000RR machinery in the Superbike races.

Kneen, though, claims he has given little thought to being in the same team as the pair at the first big international meeting of the year.

“I haven’t really thought about Alastair or Michael and I haven’t been with them in the team yet,” he said.

“I will be doing what I am doing and getting on with my own plans. And anyway, maybe they will be more worried about each other than they will be about me!”

The Braddan man, who clinched his first TT rostrum with an excellent ride to third in the Superstock race last June on the DTR BMW, is hoping for a change of luck at the North West, where practice gets underway in two weeks’ time on the North Coast.

“I’ve had good results at the other internationals but I’ve always seemed to have had issues and problems with bikes at the North West.

“But I’m looking forward to the meeting this year with the Tyco BMW team. I’ve never had that kind of support before and I am confident I can do well.

“We did the Donington and Brands Hatch BSB rounds and they went well plus we’ve had some testing in Spain and at Castle Combe,” Kneen added.

“Everything is going to plan and I am happy with the bikes.”

Kneen is a late entry for this weekend’s Tandragee 100 in Co. Armagh, where he will ride the Superstock-spec Tyco BMW as he continues his preparations for the North West and TT.

“It is all about working with the team now to get the bike set up properly,” he said.

“The team have been with BMW since 2015 and these bikes have everything you would want on them – all the little details that make the difference are sorted.”

On his previous visit to Tandragee in 2016, he was hit with a one-minute time penalty along with Derek Sheils for a jump start.

Kneen had been the first rider over the line but his subsequent penalty promoted Ryan Farquhar to first place ahead of William Dunlop.

As well riding the TAS Racing BMW machines in the Superbike and Superstock races this season, Kneen will also line up on a Honda CBR600RR for the Jackson Racing team in the Supersport class.